Mining News

 

From: shrimpshadow@hotmail.com
To: tdabney@fs.fed.us
Subject: FW: NorthMet Comments- Szymialis
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2014 14:44:23 -0400

Dear Mr. Dabney;
Please find herein my written comments regarding the PolyMet SDEIS.
Dennis Szymialis

From: shrimpshadow@hotmail.com
To: douglas.w.bruner@usace.army.mil
Subject: FW: NorthMet Comments- Szymialis
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 10:47:25 -0400

Dear Mr. Bruner;

I am the person that you talked to after giving my spoken comments in Duluth. You encouraged me to write comments so I am forwarding them to you after e-mailing them to the MDNR. I am convinced more than ever that the PolyMet project will be an economic and health disaster for Minnesota which will most adversely  impact N.E.
Minnesota. I think the process including the 90 day comment period limitation is offensive and dangerous to the public. The process presents a callous disregard for the public generally. If any of the agencies are offended by my comments they well should be as that was my intention.

Sincerely
Dennis Szymialis


From: shrimpshadow@hotmail.com
To: northmetsdeis.dnr@state.mn.us
Subject: NorthMet Comments- Szymialis
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 10:23:12 -0400

                                        POLYMET SDEIS COMMENTS


Allowing only 90 days for public comment for this project is inadequate to fully vet objections to the project which PolyMet and lead agencies have allegedly spent tens of millions of dollars and more than 9 years. The comments given below should be given deference for judicial review under these circumstances or be determinedto violate due process notice and comment requirements. The comments given should be regarded as conservative objections and be given a broad reading.

The lead agencies are being paid to provide an SDEIS that will be permitted. This payment conflicts with their permitting and monitoring responsibilities. For them the permitting of PolyMet is nothing less than employment featherbedding. They have an pecuniary interest in permitting PolyMet including the promotion of future projects
that will go through licensing and which they will have to monitor. The agencies are denying cumulative impacts because they want to hide their own misconduct. Why should we have to tolerate “evaluation criteria” that they created in the first place. Is every watershed available for contamination of “evaluation criteria.” “But no one is sure if arsenic levels below the 10-microgram threshold are completely “safe.” And researchers are still studying whether there could be health effects at those concentrations.” at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/24/us-chile-cancer-idUSTRE80N1YJ20120124. While most sources attribute lower cancer rates from arsenic in Chile there was  one at least source that I read that indicated it was from a change in water supply.

Future monitoring and the filling in of some very substantial gaps of the SDEIS will be left to these lead agencies that have contracted with PolyMet to act on their behalf. These agencies have already in the DEIS written an EIS that was rejected by the EPA. This does not mean that the EPA will continue to save us. It only means that the EPA will be the focus of pressure to capitulate. Because environmental organizations rely on donations they are
also subject to the pressure of being financially influenced. Volunteers cannot be relied on to continue to carry the load. There is little hope without drawing a line in the sand to stop PolyMet. Unlike Bangladesh we have a choice  http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d2431.

The MDNR that told us that the DEIS would protect us is going to be the agency that will be paid to monitor compliance.They will present us with test results that are self serving. The only thing worse than being poisoned is being poisoned and told to drink the water anyway because it won’t hurt you. At their most hoped for best these agancies deal in an imperfect world of subjective standards and judicial over-site. The arsenic standard in particular is
unreasonably low as it was the standard adopted from that set by the World Health Organization at a time when detection technology was limited and as a result was set at 10 parts per billion. We should not be threatened by claims that PolyMet will meet government standard that are third world at the outset. The primary obligation of
the lead agency is to protect public health and any cutting corners or exception to that rule is a violation of their social contract with individual citizens, undermines their constitutional legitimacy and is a betrayal of the american revolution.    
  
What is the deal with putting the filtrate from the mechanical treatment in “licensed landfills.” This simply delays the release of toxins like thousands of tons of arsenic into the environment. What licensed landfill would take the stuff and what kind of vicious monster would be doing the licensing  anyway. Maybe the Duluth Chamber of Commerce will volunteer the Gary New Duluth landfill that emits a plume down Sergeant Creek into the St. Louis River.
Reliance on sorption or absorption of arsenic by iron compounds currently is not taking place in the tailings basin or at the mine site. Releases of arsenic and other heavy metals should be expected  to lead to death and disability downstream. The payment of the co-lead agencies to engage in promoting a project like this that presents a deliberate disregard for human life makes it nothing less than a murder for hire plot. Genocide historically, invariably does not occur without militarysupport.

Murder for hire with the public being forced to pay for it in the form of a secreted power rate agreement. If this is such a good deal and if in fact the PolyMet (the NorthMet mine and plant site will hereafter simply referred to as PolyMet) project is actually in an economically viable deposit, the project should not need subsidy. There have been indications that PolyMet that in late 2004 was a dormant penny stock was resurrected as an insider scheme to enrich government officials and others. Present and past subsidies to PolyMet including public historical public ownership to allow PolyMet to avoid paying past property taxes, the Minnesota policy (which exists in no other state)to server mineral interests which devalues land and passes the tax burden of land ownership and cost of government services off on non-mining supported businesses, drilling subsidies paid for by the state of Minnesota, millions of dollars of public money not fully publicly disclosed by the IRRRB granted directly to PolyMet, the failure to adequately and in advance require financial assurance and the pollution subsidy which will destroy other valuable public resources and cause other businesses and the public to subsidize PolyMet with higher health care costs, the diminution or public recreational and tourism opportunities, etc, all contribute to a violation of the National Land Management Policy Act. St. Louis County alone has 940,000 acres of tax forfeited land, the shattering of the hopes and dreams of thousands of land owners, hundreds of them farm owners and business supporters of agriculture.

This SDEIS conspires to violate the Weeks Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and a number of other laws. The failure to utilize more costly measures to mitigate environmental degradation to attain cost savings on the basis that the project cannot proceed without these cost savings also calls into question the merit of the project under the National 
Land Management Policy. These include inadequate liners, the failure to utilize the underground mining alternative and a number of other measures including many failed to be disclosed by the SDEIS which violates due process legal notice requirements. It means nothing that PolyMet has paid themselves 22 million dollars or any amount to 

The PolyMet SDEIS does not even meet the old standard of deference to mining companies, see Flynn at p. 834 “The previous definition focused mostly on the needs of the mining company and whether the proposed mine operated in a “usual [and] customary” manner.110 The SDEIS does not require PolyMet to bolt, wire, and shotcrete the pit walls to inhibit the migration of water and pollutants in and out of the pit as was done by Kennicot  at its Flambeau Mine. This would have an additional benefit if done simultaneously with mining of inhibiting the collapse of the pit wall of the type that occurred in Utah at a Kennicot Mine in 2012. It is more essential that it be done by PolyMet because of the weaker wet rock. I expressed this concern in my comments to the past PolyMet EIS and those concerns seem to have simply been dismissed and disregarded in the current SDEIS. The collapse of a pit wall would be welcomed by PolyMet as a justification for a mine expansion. The environmental ramifications of which would be extensive. The failure of PolyMet to bolt and shotcrete pit walls does not even follow “usual and customary” mine operating standards in the area.
In the DEIS the EPA issued a finding of EU-3 (Environmentally Unsatisfactory – Inadequate Information). The SDEIS simply shifts, as indicated on 5-211 and 212, toxic materials around or fails to specify actual measures to be taken. The SDEIS should be viewed in the context of the burden set by the EPA-EU-3 rating. The SDEIS is simply a denial and an attempt to evade environmental responsibility. The facts remain that the SDEIS is a recipe for another failure on top of the failures of the permitting of every mining of sulfide bearing rock  every occuring in the U.S. This consistency of failure which is so pervasive as to provide public notice meets the standard that beyond a reasonable doubt agency regulation and agency administrators generally are failures and not deserving of any kind of deference. Weak regulation doesn’t make metals cheaper and more available it simply shifts the cost and discourages recycling.

My grandparents homesteaded in Elmer Township in the late 1800’s. Elmer Township is near Meadowlands and the St. Louis River. At one time the rich and fertile lands of the St. Louis River valley provided Meadowlands with a prosperous agricultural economy. The Fishery of Lake Superior as been severely diminished since the advent of Minnesota mining. It is known given the DNR Bavin and Berndt studies that mercury from mining and power generation upon which mining is dependent contribute elemental mercury to Lake Superior and sulfates that serve to methylate that mercury and make it biologically available to fish in Lake Superior poisoning and weakening those fish. The probability that poisoning fish diminish their numbers should not be disregarded.  As a result of the pollution of the St. Louis River from iron mining these economies have been severely diminished to the point where we can no longer feed ourselves. Agriculture and its prosperity along with clean water form the foundation for humand life and historical prosperity. Unlike many third world countries exploited by companies like Glencor  and Anafagosta where their mines in Chile averaged 34 worker deaths per year from 2000 to 2010 we have a choice not to become a third world mineral extraction colony.

I was disappointed that there was no uniformed member of the corps of engineers, the uniform that my mother wore during world war II, at the Duluth hearing to answer questions. It is not a proper function of a branch of the Army to assist a British foreign invader in damaging the health and taking the lives of U.S. Citizens. Military personnel acting in a branch of the military and representing the military are supposed to wear uniforms.  Military personnel assisting foreign invaders are more properly referred to as traitors and non uniformed military personnel as spies. Both designations have there own ramifications.
Myself I am a graduate of the University of North Dakota having taken courses in Oil and Gas Law (B), Agricultural Law (A), and Water Law (A-).  In 1998 I was the vice-chair for the Eighth Congressional District of the Reform Party that elected Jesse Ventura governor. I am a life time resident of the Duluth-Superior area and assert my right under the common law to my prior
appropriation of clean drinking water on my own behalf, through my mother who was a life time resident of the Duluth area and my grandmother who was a life time consumer of lake Superior water.
           IN RESPONSE TO REPRESENTATIONS MADE IN THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
p23.
I am responding to representations made on page 23 and other places in the SDEIS by stating that the tailings basin by design will not sequester toxic materials as represented. The “cutoff wall placed into existing surficial deposits” indicated at 3-117 will be inadequate and the modeling indicating that 90%of runoff water will be collected is irrelevant. In order to collect 90% the wall would need to project below the originally placed as loose taillings fill down to bedrock, all fractures in the bedrock would need to be sealed off  hold a great deal of water pressure, have the drain tile at the bottom of the wall which is standard foundation engineering, and the wall would have to be extended to the east side of the tailings basin. The collection of this water is necessary for treatment assuming for now that treatment would even be effective which is disputed in other areas of these comments.

One challenge that I would make here is that the iron tailings do not sequester mercury any better than any other soil. Elemental mercury is currently not leaching out of the tailings basin because lower levels have had the mercury scoured out through the introduction of sulfates running through them. Mercury is at higher than normal environmental levels in the surface areas of the tailings basin as a result of the absence of sulfates. Once the sulfates are again introduced at the top this mercury will methylate and flow out at higher levels than normal. Water discharge through the lower levels with sulfates will be redirected through the basin increasing the release of methylated mercury currently unexposed in the basin formation at these lower levels. My conclusions are based on studies that I have read on the relationships between sulfates and mercury methylation, DNR studies by Bavin and Berndt and all other studies, common sense, and not any self serving and deceptive computer modeling. The claim made on p. ES-36 that somehow the mere presence of the PolyMet mine is going to reduce mercury in the Partridge river is simply bizarre and more unexplained hocus pocus.

The “ WWTF is now proposed to be upgraded to a RO process during closure to manage sulfate concentrations in the effluent ” described at p. ES-24 is inadequate. It is unacceptable that toxins other than sulfates that will not be captured by RO including carcinogens Nickel Sulfate and Arsenic III shall be allowed to flow unimpeded. It is unacceptable that sulfates will be left untreated at any time. It violated due process and all relevant standards of agency deference to provide standards for treatment which are vague, ambiguous, and speculative. The amount of water going into the WWTF will overwhelm any treatment facility that could be built. The amount of water going into the system is dramatically understated. 

                                             COMMENTS CHAPTER 3
The following statement made on page 3-4 of the SDEIS represents the type of misleading information that mining companies provide to deceive the public. “Bentonite would be incorporated into the exposed outer side-slopes of the Tailings Basin as it would be built up to create a barrier that would limit oxidation. This limiting of oxygen transfer would reduce pollutants generated from the Tailings Basin.” The pollutants will not be reduced. Their introduction into the environment will merely be delayed. Further more limited limitation of oxygenation is part of the formula for mercury methylization. Eventually exposure and oxygen reaction will occur.

ES-40
The Economic Impacts of mining only include allegedly positive impacts and fail to state the negative cumulative economic and social impacts of mining? ES-41

Since the SDEIS puts in issue the economic impact of the PoltMet project it is necessary that the authors specify the basis for and underlying assumptions made in determining the following at ES-40.
“Federal, state, and local taxes would total an estimated $80 million annually. During operations, there would be approximately $231 million per year in direct value added through wages and rents and $332 million per year in direct output related to the value of the extracted minerals. As with employment, these direct economic contributions would create indirect and induced contributions, estimated at $99 million in value added and $182 million in output.”
-For Example, is the portion of  $231 attributable to wages based on the unlikely prospect of a union mine?

-On the internet I found some MP documents that appear to indicate revenue of $568,174,000. It is my recollection that it was reported back in April of 2008  that the PolyMet power rate agreement would cause our power rate to increase by more than 
10% or roughly 1-5 billion dollars over the 20 year life of the mine.

Minnesota power 2012 revenue figures


“Post-reclamation activities would include monitoring and maintenance of reclamation and water quality until the various facility features were deemed environmentally acceptable, in a self-sustaining and stable condition.” p.3-59 

-environmentally acceptable to who?

-at applicable groundwater and surface water compliance points.p.3-59
-compliance limited to selective points is not compliance.
The WWTF really is a sham which is revealed when one considers process water:
“would be collected and treated at the WWTF. Treated water would be pumped to the Tailings Basin at the Plant Site.”p.3-53. and taillings basin water will be pumped to the WWTP(at the plant site). This process fails to allow for the discharge of any water to the environment?  It makes no sense to refilter the water already filtered. This is included because there is no intent to do it.
“The sludge waste would be disposed of off-site in a solid waste landfill until the Hydrometallurgical Plant became operational (see Section 3.2.2.3).  When available, sludge waste would be filtered and moved by truck along the Transportation and Utility Corridor and introduced to the autoclave in the Hydrometallurgical Plant to recover metals or placed directly into the Hydrometallurgical Residue Facility (see Section 3.2.2.3.7)” P. 3-53.

-It is planned that the toxins that are captured will be allowed to merely leach out in an uncontrolled environment. These toxins will leach out as a result of incomplete neutralization.
Toxic to fish-
collector-potassium amyl xanthate 3-100, 1,171 tons per year(p.3-102)-dumped with tailings
-this should not be allowed
p.3-136
“Compensatory wetland mitigation for the proposed NorthMet project is expected to be approved and constructed”
-Constructed wetlands?
p.3-139
“The purpose of the alternatives process is to allow for the identification and consideration of other reasonable alternative means to achieve the project Purpose and Need and that could also improve environmental and/or socioeconomic benefits.”
-Does the alternatives process include releasing PolyMet from environmental regulation and financial assurance to achieve the so called project purpose and need and socioeconomic benefits? Is this the Mesabi Nugget catchall exemption?
P.3-140
“Economic feasibility – Each alternative was assessed as to whether it could meet economic and financial requirements to construct and operate the proposed project, including whether the cost of implementing the alternative would be economically feasible to meet the Purpose and Need.”
-This type of catagorical analysis systematically discredits the whole SDEIS process and violates the Federal Land Management Policy Act.
p.3-152
“• The cost of physically backfilling the West Pit and other associated costs, including those for
additional mechanical water treatment (required to treat increased constituent loads) and
financial assurance requirements, could affect the ability of PolyMet to secure financing.”
“• Backfilling the West Pit would encumber private mineral resources that are deeper than the
proposed West Pit. Such an encumbrance is in conflict with the terms of PolyMet’s current
private mineral leases. The PolyMet lease agreements could be renegotiated, which might
involve monetary compensation for the mineral owners if minerals are encumbered. “
-the previous two items from p.3-152 violate the Federal Land Management policy act and call into question the merits of the
PolyMet project.
– does this need to be considered, i.e. as a potential cumulative impact if it is the basis for denying this action it would not be considered speculative?   This create a standard by which cumulative impacts should be judged in looking forward/forseability.
Standards delineated as part of Forest Plan in 157-159 are superseded by Weeks Act Legislation and particularly as such mining is fundamentally inconsistent with the Forest and as such the lands exchanged are not protected by the Weeks Act and are not in effect an arms length transaction as proposed.
Lake County Tract 2 lands are tainted by a MEPA violation in that they violate due process by not be properly identified as a connected action and are misidentified as being legally owned by PolyMet. The Colead agency come to the SDEIS with unclean hands in facilitating a violation of the law which should bring into question their impartiality.

                                                   CHAPTER 4 COMMENTS

“no off-site contamination has been documented.” p. 4-17. This is misleading. What is the consent decree for.

“The use classifications are not intended to imply a priority rank to the uses.” p4-23

-this is a false statement!
-p.4-23 prior appropriation language.
-this is why PolyMet needs to deny ground water contamination!

p. 4-24 
“(d) Appropriation and use of surface water from lakes of less than 500 acres in surface area must
be discouraged.”

-Colby Lake only has 517 acres.

“Colby Lake, which is used for domestic consumption by the City of Hoyt Lakes, is designated as Classes 1B (treated 
with simple chlorination for domestic consumption)”

-contaminating this lake puts an unfair burden on taxpayer in health care costs for the unwary water consumer of Colby Lake.

“All NorthMet Project area waters are also designated Outstanding International Resource Waters (Minnesota Rules, parts 7050.0460 and 7052.0300), which prohibits any new or expanded point source discharges of bioaccumulative substances of immediate concern (i.e., mercury) unless a nondegradation demonstration is completed and approved by the MPCA. “

“Any proposed activity that alters the course, current, or cross section of a mapped Public Water is subject to a variety of state regulations (Minnesota Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange
4.2.2 WATER RESOURCES 4-25 NOVEMBER 2013 Rules, Chapter 6115), depending on the proposed activity.”

-the SDEIS fails to identify the state regulations that will be violated when the flow of the Partridge River is induced to flow
through one or more of the mine pits and the river course is altered.
-All relevant waters, p.4-29, are impaired. Table 4.2.2-2.


p.4-44
“The specific capacity tests conducted in two wells indicated that the upper portion of the Virginia Formation is more permeable than the lower portion (Barr 2007b). This is attributed to the increased amount of fractures and joints in the bedrock closer to the surface. Overall, groundwater flow within the bedrock units is thought to be primarily through fractures and other secondary porosity features because the rocks have low primary hydraulic conductivity. Near the ground surface, groundwater in the bedrock is thought to be hydraulically connected with the overlying surficial 
aquifers, resulting in similar flow directions (Barr 2007d). “

-The rock that we are concerned about running from the fractures forming and radiating out from the Partridge River are not in the Duluth Complex, See figure p.3-35.
-The SDEIS is using the Duluth Complex as the basis for non-permeability in the bedrock.


P.4-45
 “One exploration borehole at the Minnamax prospect encountered groundwater at a depth of 1,390 ft in the Duluth Complex that flowed for a period of 6 days, indicating the potential presence of over-pressured groundwater in the bedrock (Barr 1976).”
-It won’t take very many pressurized flows to drain that Partridge River, divert it’s flow, and fill the mine that will need to be pumped. The Minnamax mine was so wet at all times that visitors while hearing the noise of constant pumping had to where hip boots!

P.4-45 
“Tests using  wells that penetrate through the surficial zone, however, found much higher average hydraulic conductivity, with values similar to the Biwabik Formation aquifer (see Table 4.2.2-5).”
– The zone where the surficial deposit meets bedrock is a primary zone of water conductivity generally in hydrology.
-this higher conductivity found conflicts with the general SDEIS claim of lack of conductivity upon which MODFLOW
and GoldSimm projections were based.
-This study also reported that the upper 200 to 300 ft of the Duluth Complex formation 
appeared to be fractured and jointed more extensively than at greater depths, so that the upper
portion of the bedrock should have greater hydraulic conductivity and thus better hydraulic
connectivity than deeper bedrock. p.4-46 to 4-47.
-Blasting will exacerbate and open fractures .

p.4-53
“The metals exceeding groundwater evaluation criteria in the surficial aquifer probably reflect natural conditions because there is no record of any historic activities at the Mine Site that could have contributed these constituents. 
– how about the effect of the drill exploration?

p.4-60
“exceedances of arsenic and nickel water quality standards were detected.(in background water sampling).”
-this is an indication that drill exploration has an environmental impacts contrary to representations made by one or more
co-lead agencies or it should be a warning sign of the high levels of arsenic in the mineral deposit.
p.4-60
“Groundwater Use -There are no existing domestic wells between the Mine Site and the Partridge River. However,
there are several MDNR water appropriation permits in effect for mine pit dewatering that affect the Mine Site, including the Northshore Mine permit (Permit 1982-2097). The permit authorizes Northshore Mining Company to withdraw up to 36,000 gpm (80 cubic ft per second [cfs]), of which a maximum of 13,000 gpm (29 cfs) can be discharged to the Partridge River, a maximum of 12,000 gpm (27 cfs) can be discharged to Langley Creek, and a maximum of 11,000 gpm (25
cfs) can be discharged to Unnamed Creek.”
-Is this permit being transferred? Does it have to go to the tailings basin? Are these permits an indication of what is to be expected in terms of discharges from the PolyMet pit?

p.4-74
“The only consistent exceedance of water quality standards was dissolved oxygen near the headwaters of the Partridge River (SW-002,”
-this fact will have serious ramifications for the mine plan when this water flows into the pit that the SDEIS plans to flood
on the assumption that the flooding will suppress the re-activity through the denial of oxygen of the pit face rock and catagory 2,3, and 4 waste rock.
 
p.4-86
“Colby Lake is on the Minnesota 303(d) TMDL List because of mercury concentrations in fish tissue, but is not included in Minnesota’s regional mercury TMDL because the mercury concentrations in the fish are considered too high to be returned to Minnesota’s mercury water quality standard. p.4-86”
-but this water will be used to augment stream flows around the tailings basin and increase mercury levels in the Embarrass River and concentrations of mercury downstream to Lake Superior in violation of the Great Lakes Initiative.

p.4-95
“soil borings into the surficial till identified the composition as layers of clay and sand, plus cobbles and boulders
that prevented recovery of an intact sample  (Pint and Dehler 2009). Near the toe of the Tailings Basin, average depth to bedrock is approximately 25 ft, as reported in site boring logs (Barr”
-this is the environment in which the co-lead agencies think that a below ground containment wall can capture 90% of
tailings basin water-fat chance.

P.4-94 to 4-115 
(my comments-not quotation) Constituent readings for the Partridge River, Embarass River, and especially for the tailings basin down gradient are of limited value outside of the context of contemporaneous rainfall effecting dilution. Readings for surficial Rivers and Lakes-Concentrations at low water levels are the real indicator of the health of a well, river, or reservoir lake when concentrations are highest and plant and aquatic life mortality are greatest and sometimes absolute resulting in dead rivers because once everything is killed there is no life to regenerate. Dead fish don’t lie. Ground water and surficial water aquifer flows are interconnected and reporting readings for residential well water when contaminants are diluted is immoral and should be considered illegal as it is misleading and prevents users from protecting themselves.
-The hydrology on pages 4-149 to 4-151 overstate the homogeneity of the mine site surficial aquifer and are irrelevant to what is going to happen when the homogeneous portion removed from the underlying fractured bedrock along the stream bed is removed. These fractures are the vehicle for surface drainage to the larger river fracture when the mine side fractures are breached by the mine excavation the water table will follow these fractures into the mine and because of the lower hydrolic resistance will drain more area more readily including the surficial water on the opposite side of the river. River flow will follow the path of least resistance and associated erosion and be redirected naturally through the pit area.
-Other wise, the swamp at the actual footprint of the mine sequesters water for flood control, filters water, and conducts other desired wetland functions.

P4-220
“although a few individual samples within the Partridge River Watershed exceeded surface water quality evaluation criteria, overall in-stream water quality meets state water quality standards”
-readings for surficial Rivers and Lakes-Concentrations at low water levels are the real indicator of the health of a well, river, or reservoir lake when concentrations are highest and plant and aquatic life mortality are greatest and sometimes absolute resulting in dead rivers because once everything is killed there is no life to regenerate.
-this phenomena also ivites manipulation of sampling data. For example, a high baseline could be established for a stream by sampling in low water levels and after impacted by a new project sampling would be conducted at high levels to indicate compliance when results show baseline levels.

p.4-221
“Upper Partridge River sampling sites were indicative of a warmwater stream populated by typical warmwater species, including gamefish such as northern pike and yellow perch (see Table 4.2.6-4).”
-the presence of warmwater species where trout would be expected is an indication of the warming impact that mining
has on stream ecosystems and the PolyMet will exacerbate this situation as indicated for Wyman Creek: 

“The MPCA collected fish community data during a 2009 sampling event for Wyman Creek, a State of Minnesota-listed trout stream (see Figure 4.2.6-1). MDNR surveys were conducted on Wyman Creek in 1968, 1981, and 2003 (MDNR 1981; MDNR 2003). Based on the latest 2009 survey, a variety of taxa were collected; however, no trout species were collected, which likely contributed to an IBI score of only 33, four points below the minimum threshold for this stream
classification (see Table 4.2.6-4).”

p.4-255
Compare directions and other indications for distances as given elsewhere in the SDEIS. Some distances and directions
within the SDEIS appear to be inacurate.

-the SDEIS fails to asses additional break up of large animal migratory ability broken up by mining and mines going from southwest to northeast?

Cultural Resources p.261-262

“Cooperating agencies have not participated in production or endorsement of any components of the EIS or the 
NorthMet Project.”
-it doesn’t appear that way especially when PolyMet is paying the agencies, has had access to the agencies to lobby the contents of the EIS for 9 years, the public is left with 90 days to respond, the agencies are allowing a EIS that is vague and ambiguous to proceed, and one EIS prepared by the cooperating agencies has already been determined to be rated by the
EPA Environmentally Unsatisfactory-Inadequate Information. This SDEIS continues to be a product of the evasiveness of the
last DEIS.

“The area in which effects on resources are evaluated is the Area of Potential Effect (APE). The APE is defined as, “… the geographic area or areas within which an undertaking may directly or indirectly cause alterations in the character or use of historic properties, if any such properties exist.” 
-the destruction of a once thriving agri-culture in the St. Louis River Valley caused by illegal iron mining pollution. Should we trust a culture of corruption and violation of the law? Minnesota agencies have failed enforce the environmental laws.

p.4-314(public access)
“There are access points to the NorthMet Project area, however, via a Forest Service road, the Partridge”
-the gating off of the forest service road is a Forest Service NEPA violation. The Forest Service doesn’t have any respect for the law either.

p.4-315
The study area for socioeconomics extends beyond the area of direct potential project effects to include all of Cook, Lake, and St. Louis counties (see Figure 4.2.10-1). 
-this is arbitrary because the cultural results of the socioeconomic are not fairly addressed.

p.4-319
“represented by the loss of so many iron industry jobs”
-This statement is taken out of context and in fact a complete and accurate reading of Powers is that these jobs were consolidated by the industry due to efficiencies. The whole of the report by powers should be up for consideration in order for it to provide a fair context.

p.4-322
The poverty and ignorance of the communities are typical of mining communities in general and should not be encouraged with more mining and empowerment.-Powers-.

p.4-325-26
-factors not included by Powers include tax policy which promotes mining, the MP PolyMet power utility agreement, the IRRRB which  administers most of the funds indicated on p.4-332 and funnels public tax money back into mining arbitrarily, increased health care costs mining areas, displacement of agricultural jobs at the expense of mining, etc.
-why is no LQ value analyzed for long term job losses in regional agriculture due to pollution from mining and at the expense of mining pollution?

p4-326 
-mining has displaced the potential for additional tourism. It is misleading to say they exist harmoniously.

-the Iron Range is a community that has blessed by rich mineral deposits and a hundred years of prolific mining. In spite of operating in relatively clean iron oxide deposits they have managed to pollute the environment. Now they are crying to engage in mining that has historically had a poor record of toxic waste discharge. Their is no reason to believe they will do any better this time around. No amount of patronization will change anything. It is unconscionable, in the context of an EIS, for an agency to disregard an industry that is an economic predator and facilitates a culture of environmental degradation.
p.4-340
“Grand Portage’s subsistence fish consumption averages 144 grams/day, five times higher than the MPCA assumed fish consumption rate of 30 grams/day. Fond du Lac’s subsistence fish consumption is on average 60 grams/day, two times higher than the MPCA assumed fish consumption rate (ERM 2012). The effects of mercury bioaccumulation on subsistence activity are discussed in Section 5.2.10.2.6.”
-mining has a disproportionate impact on the poor and minorities. Government ownership of large tracts of land for the benefit of mining contributes to an evasion of property tax payments and contributes to homelessness by resticting access to land for residential building.
p.4-349
“• Low SIO: The landscape appears moderately altered, and non-natural landscape features may 
begin to dominate.”

“The Mine Site and adjoining federal lands are designated by the USFS as areas of Low SIO”
-this is an arbitrary characterization of the mine site which has nothing on it
-Furthermore the existence of an old mine site does not preclude land of park-like character adjacent to it. For example,
p.4-359 Lake Vermilion State Park is 16 miles northwest of the NorthMet Project area (see Figure 4.2.12-1), on the eastern shores of Lake Vermilion adjacent to Soudan Underground Mine State Park.

p.4-361
-reading hazardous waste reference on this page, nickel, arsenic, mercury, et.al. currently locked in the mineral formation meet the definition of hazardous waste.

p.4-371
“leaking and failure of LTVSMC discharge pipes.”
-Are these the pipes exiting at the embarass river that I have pictures of? Are they going to plug these to catch and treat 90% of the run-off the tailings basin. Plugging these will add such hydrostatic pressure to the tailings basin that it will collapse.

p.4-383
“To facilitate the expedited consolidation of the in-place LTVSMC tailings, wick drains would be installed within the 
Emergency Basin. This would reduce drainage path lengths and increase the drainage ability in the LTVSMC tailings and underlying compressed peat. “
-it appears that the tailings basin had these wick drains built into it.

p.4-384
“she4ar strengths will increase if installed wick drains are unsuccessful.”
-with what consequence?

p.4-395
Tract 1 is an old dump site.




ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS

p.5-7
“In this SDEIS, non-mechanical treatment systems are not described in detail because the NorthMet Project Proposed Action is based on mechanical treatment only.”
-Why isn’t the mechanical treatment described then?
-Why aren’t modeling parameters and protocol described?

ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS

p.5-8
“, but mass balance modeling and analog data from other natural lakes and mine pit lakes in northeastern Minnesota suggest”
-not a relevant premise from which to draw a conclusion indicating the lack of foundational  reliability in the modeling.

ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS

“that the mercury concentration in the West Pit Lake, the source of the only surface water discharge at the 
Mine Site, would stabilize at approximately 0.9 ng/L. There would also be mercury in the tailings, although about 92 percent of the mercury in the ore is predicted to remain in the ore concentrate and the mercury concentration in seepage from the Tailings Basin is expected to be less than the standard. The WWTF and the WWTP would be designed to meet the 1.3 ng/L 
mercury standard for its effluent.”
-you mean the WWTF and WWTP haven’t been designed yet?

ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS

“Overall, the NorthMet Project Proposed Action is predicted to increase mercury loadings in the Embarrass River, but decrease mercury loadings in the Partridge River. The net effect of these changes would be an overall reduction in mercury loadings to the downstream St. Louis River. “
-you mean mercury would be reduced in the Partridge River merely because it has a mercury and sulfate emitting mine next to it? hocus-pocus.

ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS

p.5-9
What is the AWMP
-list of contaminants on p.5-9 incomplete. 

p.5-10

“Natural (unaffected) groundwater concentrations for beryllium, manganese,and thallium (bedrock unit only) at the Mine Site and beryllium and manganese at the Plant Site are greater than secondary drinking water standards and/or the HRL (see Table 5.2.2-
2).These elevated concentrations are consistent with concentrations seen elsewhere in the Iron Range and northeast Minnesota.
Minnesota Rules, part 7060.0600,subpart 8,states that“where the background level of natural origin is reasonably definable
and is higher than the accepted standard for potable water and the hydrology and extent of the aquifer are known, the natural
level may be used as the standard.”
-Natural/unaffected at the plant site indicate post mining impacts whereas “bedrock unit only” at the mine site indicates a sample taken somewhere in drilled/disturbed rock. This is an attorney’s analysis for purpose of deception and not anyone’s reasonable interpretation of natural or unaffected. Neither does the fact that these reading were found at other mine sites on the iron range make them background levels. Just because it is found in isolated disturbed areas doesn’t mean that it is a natural origin.
-thallium is a serious poison and indications of it should be of serious concern for proceeding with mining its use has been banned by presidential order 11643 in 1972.
-manganese is associated with intellectual impairment in children (maybe this is why people on the range are less educated)

p.5-11
-recent studies on the health effects of arsenic would dictate a stricter than 10 parts per billion standard.

p.5-13
“Hydrologic evaluation criteria include a comparison of proposed hydrologic changes with both existing natural conditions and historic hydrologic alterations from permitted mining practices,”
-is this a comparison with this actual sulfide ore body or some arbitrarily picked iron mine.

p.5-14
-minimum flows are probably a state and federal legal requirement and not just a MDNR recommendation (see Flynn Article above)


p.5-19
“calcium and magnesium ions that contribute to water hardness generally lower metals toxicity”
-sounds like another mining proponent fairy tail.

p.5-25

“PolyMet has indicated a desire to transition to non-mechanical treatment once pilot-testing and modeling indicate water quality standards could be met, which potentially could include application of the wild rice seasonal standard, but these are beyond the scope of this SDEIS.”
-Why is PolyMet so confident in achieving other water quality standards with modeling and not this one?Is it because their modeling is all bullshit to begin with or is it because modeling is based on iron mines which wouldn’t be able to meet the sulfate standard without treatment?

-Why haven’t modern techniques been utilized in determining the actual and not simply self serving theory which given the state
of the art in geophysical mapping would dictate to determine ground water flows and subsurface conditions including bedrock fracture? You would think that these would be part of the $65 million dollars that PolyMet claims to have spent. Or is that money being spent to keep us from knowing the truth? Why hasn’t  the PolyMet mineral eploration and mining company done testing
commonly used in the industry to make good sound interpretations beneath the surface such as ground penetrating radar, seismic
reflection, hyperspectral imaging, and magnetotellurics.

-the MinnAmex cite within a few miles of the MorthMet was observed undergoing constant pumping and visitors were nonetheless required to wear hip boots.

p.5-38-42
-there is no MODFLOW recognition of the pipes that are draining the area around the Plant site. Is the water in these pipes considered ground water or surficial water? There is just no recognition or mention of these drainage pipes.

p.5-51
“chemical reactions, including mineral precipitation and surface adsorption, would limit the concentration of many contaminants in non-acidic waste-rock effluent and thus would reduce the rate at which contaminants were released; and”
-precipitation would not “limit the concentration of soluble contaminants like arsenic, nickel compounds, and concurrently methylated mercury, the mercury and arsenic generally bound with the sulfide in the pyrite which allow them to become reactive quicker. 
Pyrite was observed to be a prominent feature at the Minnamax mine within a few miles of the NorthMet mine site.
p.5-54
“the rate of oxidation and constituent release was estimated from studies of seepage release measured in Dunka Mine rock, which is a nearby source of waste rock with similar chemical composition”
-if Dunka Pit mine rock were similar the adjacent rock would be readily accessible and being mined for sulfide ores.

p.5-55

Table 5.2.2-14 is just an attempt to confuse by using some kind of alternative terms for solubility and ground filtration.
They are trying to say that the water and solutes will enter the ground only in quantities which will produce what 
they want  people to believe is the opitmum ground filtration scenario.

p.5-55
“four solutes are assumed to be attenuated by adsorption in the aquifer: arsenic, antimony, copper, and nickel.”
-for arsenic this statement fails to differentiate between Arsenic V isotope which is arsenic at a lower PH state and Arsenic III Isotope which is the same arsenic at a more neutral state. This EIS projects inconsistent scenarios in assuming a lower PH but not the type of arsenic which is exhibited at that PH level.
-the modeling also fails in that it is unable to explain already existing exceedances previously noted as being observed for arsenic at the mine site.

p. 5-57
GoldSim as manipulated explains nothing relevant, reliable, or valid. 

“Table 3.2-13
Sulfuric Acid 1,500 tons per year
Hydrochloric Acid 3,590 tons per year
Liquid Sulfur Dioxide 1,433 tons per year (according to Wikipedia-“Sulfur dioxide is primarily produced for sulfuric acid manufacture”).” 

-regarding tailings geochemistry we need to start with the fact that the SDEIS is telling us that the tailings basin is
going to have some potential for acid mine drainage.

p.5-61
“The NorthMet Project Proposed Action tailings are predicted to have less than 0.12 percent sulfur, which kinetic tests demonstrate is low enough that it would never produce acidic leachate”….
“Tailings samples subjected to humidity cell tests included a range of sulfide S concentrations (0.06 to 0.14 percent S) “

-The range between .12 and .14 percent sulfur according to the EIS indicates that there is some probability that the tailings themselves will produce acid mine drainage. This disregards the effect of the process water which will be added. The SDEIS can hide the treatment process from us but it appears that it is heavily reliant on some sort of ion exchange as there is an indication that large amounts of limestone will be used.

-but lets go pack to the water hydrology for a start. The SDEIS starts by disregarding the hydrostatic effects of the head
created by digging the pit. When the pit is dug, the large amount of water surrounding the pit will want to drain into the 
pit, even with the soil conditions the SDEIS claims exists above bedrock. The SDEIS rely’s on a few holes drilled. The entire wall of the pit is the area in issue and not just the surface area of a few holes. When water under surface pressure starts to drain into the bit erosion will further open these holes and create ever increasing drainage into the pit. The holes in surficial and bedrock area around the pit caused by drying and erosion under pressure will form the conduit for migration of contaminants out of the pit post-closure. The pit wall will be close enough to the Partridge River to intersect fractures radiating out from the main fracture creating the Partridge River. The SDEIS tells us that the surficial water flow follows the fractures and that these fractures have associated fractures radiating out from them. This will create drainage into the pit. This drainage into the pit will be more pronounced on the north wall where this water will divert the Partridge River through these fissures and keep the north Virginia formation wall flowing with contaminants that will have to be pumped out to accommodate mining operations.  

-this leach-aid water will be pumped to the WWTF and run through lime to neutralize it but no system exists where the
lime will not get coated will the sulfide metals that are precipitated out and fail to continue to neutralize the acidic
water it is intended to neutralize. This process will lead to higher than the .06 to .14 percent Sulfur that the SDEIS indicates will be a base level for the tailings and increase the chances that at least at times the tailings basin will become acidified at a level above the .12 level indicated for acidic conditions. Furthermore, the tailings basin itself contains waste which has become inert. The addition of sulfide and sulfate to the top of the tailings basin will run through the basin and methylize the elemental mercury which is in higher than environmental concentration along with the mercury methylized from the process water, “sulfate release rates increasing roughly in proportion to total sulfur (p.5-61).”The reverse osmosis, even if the filters stay unplugged and a suitable disposal is found for the filtrate, is not designed or expected to filter out ions that are smaller than water molecules and highly soluble in water. Toxic heavy metals like arsenic, nickel, and methyl mercury will flow unimpeded to Lake Superior and beyond in the solution created. 

P.5-62
The fact that the modeling failed to measure predicted, “concentrations of several solutes, including many metals.”
doesn’t necessarily mean that the non empirical measurements were understated by the model or that there were “additional attenuation effects.” It probably is more likely that the data fed into the model was invalid or that it is just a bad model. Why should we give credibility to a modeling that has no proven track record of reliability? 

p.5-63
“NorthMet Project Proposed Action contaminant release parameters are based on a combination of laboratory tests and water quality observations at similar tailings facilities in northern Minnesota.”
-again, this is not a valid comparison.

The SDEIS claims that based “design and performance modeling” that,

p.5-68
“In GoldSim, the containment system is conservatively assumed to be 90 percent efficient,”this system is described as follows, p.3-117 “It would consist of a cutoff wall placed into existing surficial deposits, with a collection trench and drain pipe installed on the upgradient side on the cutoff wall.” The cutoff wall would be made of “The cutoff wall would be constructed by excavating a trench down to bedrock and backfilling it with a compacted soil material,p.3-46″ and 
Figure 3.2-28. 

This would occur in the following environment:

“Jennings and Reynolds (2005) mapped the surficial deposits around and beneath the Tailings  Basin as Rainy Lobe Till, which functions as the surficial aquifer and is generally a boulder-rich till with high clay content. Data from the 12 monitoring wells installed north and west of the Tailings Basin indicate that the primary lithology in this area is sand with varying amounts of silt
and gravel. In a separate geotechnical study of the LTVSMC tailings, several soil borings into the surficial till identified the composition as layers of clay and sand, plus cobbles and boulders that prevented recovery of an intact sample (Pint and Dehler 2009). Near the toe of the Tailings Basin, average depth to bedrock is approximately 25 ft, as reported in site boring logs (Barr
2009f). The area farther northwest of the Tailings Basin is believed to be one of the few areas in the region with significant quantities of outwash (sand and gravel) and thicknesses ranging from 0 ft to greater than 150 ft (Olcott and Siegel 1979) (see Figure 4.2.2-12). The surficial till is often overlain by wetland/peat deposits. Peat deposits were encountered in some borings, ranging in thickness from less than a foot to several feet.”p.4-95

-it seems a fairy tail that it could be conservatively assumed that a wall made of compacted dirt would hold back an average of 25 feet of ground water, that a trench could be dug to be tucked around boulders 25 feet down in the ground,  that the ground water would flow uphill as indicated in Figure 3.2-28, or that there is even a remote chance of in any way modeling this result. My god, what will they have us believe? Oh, and they still don’t explain the pipes draining away from the tailings basin into the Embarass River or what will be done with those. I know it doesn’t take 300 years for water to travel 3.25 miles through a pipe. I would say maybe an hour.

p.5-77
“This P90 threshold generally equates to a reasonable worst-case scenario and has been adopted for other mining NEPA documents where probabilistic modeling was used (e.g., Idaho Cobalt Project [USFS 2009b]). “
-use for one solute hardly give the modeling any basis for reliability or validity, this is flimsy.

p.5-79
“Filtered sludge from the chemical precipitation process would be sent off site for disposal or stored at the Hydrometallurgical Residue Facility. The reject concentrate stream from the WWTP would be transported to the WWTF via rail tank cars where it would be added to the West Equalization Basin.” 
-this procedure simply delays discharge of contaminants to the environment.

p.3-115
“A pond would be maintained within the Hydrometallurgical Residue Facility so that the solids in the slurry would 
settle out, while the majority of the liquid would be recovered by a pump system and returned to 
the plant for reuse.”
-with all the mixed materials going into the Hydrometalurgical Residue Facility how is any of it of good enough 
quality for reuse. Why are so many materials consumed on p.3-312 if they are capable of being recycled. This is 
another misleading aspect of this SDEIS.

p.5-80
“The WWTP would be constructed south of the Tailings Basin near the coarse crusher and would include an RO unit designed to achieve less than 9 mg/L sulfate in effluent, as well as all other applicable water quality standards.”
-the RO needs to be designed before permitting and if what is the sulfate level in the 10%+ that escapes the tailings
basin containment. Won’t it exceed the 10 parts per million sulfate standard?

p.5-81
Reject concentrate from the Plant Site WWTP RO system would be treated at the Mine Site WWTF and the resulting filtered sludge would be taken off site for disposal. 
-this is a plan to put contaminants right back into the environment. How about the Hay Lake Tract 1 site. That is already a dump, literally.

p.5-81
What is the West Equalization Basin?

p.5-82
“Once the Hydrometallurgical Residue Facility is reclaimed”
-This cannot be reclaimed. It will in theory (if all goes as represented by PolyMet) contain the consumables on Table 3.2-13, treatment sludge from the WWTF, ect. How does PolyMet really expect to be able to determine if this is leaking in a 
timely manner?
-again the, WWTF will be inadequate to treat pit runoff to be discharged into the Partridge River. It will contain exceedances for mercury, carcinogenic nickel compounds, arsenic, and other toxins.
“Surface runoff would be routed away from the mine pits using a combination of existing and new ditches (see Figure 5.2.2-15).”
-This will cause contaminants to run into the Partridge River as 20 years of contaminant mining dust from blasting will have accumulated and be subject to erosion into these ditches and the river.

A more detailed evaluation of this requirement would be conducted prior to mine closure.”
-another due process notice violation.

p.5-83
“The typical discharge rate from the WWTF is predicted to be 285 gpm.”
-this amount underestimates the amount of flow as it disregards the unintended redirected flow of the Partridge River through the pits. This redirected flow would be exacerbated if the north pit wall were to collapse during mining. The rock
composing the pit walls is wet rock which is more brittle than dry rock(as I explained in my DEIS comments) added to this will be a shearing effect between the Virginia, Duluth, and underlying rock formations. Pit wall collapse has been noted recently at the Kennicot mine in Utah.

p.5-89
“distillation crystallization unit to eliminate the liquid reject stream. The moist waste solids from this system would be
 disposed of off site.”
-googling distillation crystallization does not identify any existing technology by that name. Again, solids should not be disposed of offsite where PolyMet would escape responsibility for their monitoring and release.
-the pilot testing has no more foundation for reliability than the modeling.

p.5-92
“A comparison of the hydrogeologic conditions at the Canisteo Mine Pit, the Kinney area wells, and the Mine Site 
concluded that the geologic and hydrogeologic settings of the Mine Site are relatively similar to the Canisteo and Minntac sites (Barr 2011h).”
-this just isn’t true as there is a 45 foot drop to the lake on the other side of coleraine within 1/2 mile from the canisteo pit providing drainage for the surficial till surrounding the canisteo pit. No such geological feature exists at the PolyMet mine site. Furthermore, you cannot just “Despite the difference in pit depths,” as indicated in the SDEIS. The difference between the height of the water which is at the surface above the PolyMet mine and the bottom of the mine is the “head.” The higher the head the more the pressure pushing it down. The depth of the mine relative to the water is everything. Anyone
who has been in a waterfall knows that a higher waterfall hits them harder. This is a function of the water pressure.

p.5-93
-discussion disregards environmental effects of surficial compaction from draw down of aquifer.

“The proposed Category 1 Stockpile groundwater containment system, which is tied into bedrock, would minimize effects
of pit drawdown on these waterbodies.”
-the addition of the stockpile material after the construction of the containment system is likely to be like putting a rock
on a sponge and the containment system will burst like a water balloon, bam!

p.5-98
“1.25 inches of spilled material over a 2,000-m2 area.”
-the amount and effect of this spillage is underestimated as this is highly reactive rock and inadequate precautions against
spillage are indicated.

p.5-102
“The GoldSim modeling assumes, however, that a small volume of leachate would seep through tears/flaws in the geomembrane liner, reaches the groundwater table, and follows what is referred to as the Ore Surge Pile Flow path, ultimately discharging to the Partridge River.”
-GoldSim modeling is only as good as the data fed into it if it works at all. Goldsim modeling is of questionable
reliability as indicated in this SDEIS. 
-However, it is agreed that tears will form in the liner and reactive water will run off and not be caught. SDEIS projections have failed to recognize pit water which will lead to more saturated ore in this and stockpile 2/3 which will cause more extensive tearing due to the additional weight and lead to more highly reactive waste water flowing untreated into the Partridge River. The solution to this problem is for PolyMet to use a more durable liner. Money saving measures as these that compromise the environment in violation of the FLMPA.
-it is unlikely that the waste rock indicated would have limited oxygen transport. Breach of the Partridge River aquifer on the north side of the pit will lead to the inflow of highly oxygenated water from the river that will flow through the reactive waste rock and flow through it leaching contaminants.
-the two underestimated  above phenomena themselves will lead to exceedences.
p.21(polyMet 2013gAWMP)
“Effluent concentrations used as inputs to the GoldSim water model are based on the PWQTs and the overall Project water management strategy.”
-PWQT stands for preliminary water quality targets
-some of the assessments will be made based on “information from process equipment vendors related to hydraulic 
and chemical treatment performance.” It is unlikely that accurate information will come from a sales pitch by
a vendor which is how this SDEIS seems to be weighted.
-It is impossible from the SDEIS to make the modeling predictions given in pages 5-94 to 5-150 plus as the Goldsim
results are only based on PolyMet targets which may or may not be achievable. Whether or not these targets are
achievable needs to be part of the foundation for this SDEIS. This foundation is failing like that of the DEIS.
-The GoldSim model results are simply a product of PolyMets goals and not any objective end result.
Arsenic mobility was studied in tailings from Zimapan, a mining zone of Mexico. Primary mineral phases are quartz, calcite, pyrite, pyrrhotite, sphalerite and arsenopyrite. Secondary minerals in oxidised tailings include gypsum, K-jarosite, lepidocrocite, goethite, beudantite and kaolinite. The highest levels of As (up to 3.95 ± 2.29 weight %), Zn (up to 3.26 ± 2.21 weight %) and Pb (up to 0.93 ± 0.83 weight %) were measured in unoxidised tailings located at the edge of the town. Concentrations in water leachates from oxidised tailings were: As (0.41–48.68 mg/L), Zn (1.5–400 mg/L), Pb (<1.0–1.8 mg/L) and Fe (1.9–897.5 mg/L). Mineralogy, pH, and heterogeneity of tailings, explain these concentration ranges. Arsenopyrite oxidation releases arsenic that is then partly incorporated in secondary minerals like beudantite and K-jarosite. Arsenic is also immobilised by sorption onto positively charged surfaces of hydrous ferric oxides.

Keywords: arsenic mobility, mining, mineralogy, metals, oxidised tailings, Mexico, water leachates, secondary minerals, arsenopyrite oxidation, arsenic concentrations, sorption, chemistry, environmental pollution

-sorption occurs in very limited conditions and sorption minerals are likely going to have to accommodate overwhelming amounts of arsenic and other metals subject to sorption. I believe the leachates from the above ranged 41 to 4,868 times the ten parts per billion standard. Even a small percentage of leachate escaping the PolyMet site will cause exceedences.

and death  
Bangladesh Cardiovascular disease/arsenic exposure study. 
-given already existing background exceedences this is what should be expected.
-Furthermore, if the precedent is set for this level in this branch of the St. Louis River the potential exists for totals from
each branch to accumulate to exceed exceedence levels in the main river. Inadequate dilution will occur even if branch
river exceedences are met due to evaporation and other losses.

p.5-152
-pilot testing referred to fails to identify treatment conditions, assumptions made in the testing, types of arsenic oxidized
or not, As V or As III, therefor it lacks notice and fails to provide a basis for comment. 

p.5-157
-any leakage in the hydrometallurgical facility would be disastrous and irreparable once the process started. More information is needed on the types of liners proposed.

p.5-158
-Again, are the pipes draining from the direction of the tailings basin being considered as ground water or surface water. These pipes would be assumed to drain at a different rate. What is the drainage rate attributable to these buried pipes?

p.5-159
-the ground water containment system that it is claimed will collect 100 percent of ground water needs to be further explained. Under the conditions previously described in this SDEIS that is just not remotely physically possible.

p.5-160
already oxidized and precipitated nickel and arsenic would erode and flow out with water regardless of PH because of it’s ionized solubility.
 
p.5-161
-humidity cell testing result are not reflective of actual conditions.

p5-161
“The presence of the pond in closure would provide benefits as it would create a saturated layer that would permanently reduce the oxygen flux and associated solute release in the underlying tailings.”
-Not actually true. If at closure there is going to be a liner/bentonite layer installed under the pond, the area under the liner will dry out under some conditions unless the pond liner is leaking. Either the pond is saturated or it is leaking oxygenated water. This is a prime condition according to DNR Bavin and Berndt studies for methylization of mercury.

p.5-162
The thickness and effective hydraulic conductivity of the bentonite layer would be designed to achieve a pond seepage 
flux of 6.5 in/yr or less. 
-sounds precarious given different weather conditions and specificity for performance.

p.5-165
-because of the limited conditions in which sorption occurs the slowing of these solutes is exaggerated.
-travel times lack foundation, e.g.,free flowing water does not take hundreds of years to flow.

p.21(polyMet 2013gAWMP)
“Effluent concentrations used as inputs to the GoldSim water model are based on the PWQTs and the overall Project water management strategy.”
-PWQT stands for preliminary water quality targets
-It is impossible from the SDEIS to make the modeling predictions given in pages 5-167 to 5-…. plus, as the Goldsim 
results are only based on PolyMet targets which may or may not be achievable. Whether or not these targets are
achievable needs to be part of the foundation for this SDEIS. This foundation is failing like that of the DEIS.
-The GoldSim model results are simply a product of PolyMets goals and not any objective end result.

p.5-178
-Colby Lake water is higher in sulfates than existing flows from the existing tributary stream water and will result in damage to downstream wild rice beds.

p.5-182
-seems to be telling us that the WWTP is expected not to work.

p.5-183
-raising the level of arsenic to 10 parts per billion from the tailings basin is unacceptable. This combined with cumulative
impacts downstream, existing levels of arsenic in the St. Louis River, and the combined health effects of arsenic with other
increases in other solutes is a deadly cocktail for people drinking water out of Lake Superior. Furthermore, the 10 ppb is only a PolyMet target which we cannot expect to be enforced by the agencies under the weight of special interest pressure.
p.5-188
Table 5.2.2-47 is misleading because it uses sulfate levels based on Barr and not DNR readings for Colby Lake water which were higher and because it includes Spring Mine Creek water [p.4-122 Spring Mine Creek, which receives drainage from Pit 5NW (see Figure 4.2.2-1). Pit 5NW is completely flooded and has been overflowing since before 2001 with an annual average flow of about 2 cfs to the Embarrass River via Spring Mine Creek. This discharge has sulfate concentrations that average 1,042 mg/L (PolyMet 2013j).]which won’t be augmented. The net effect of the Colby Lake augmentation is a net increase that will be detrimental to downstream rice beds which are already fragile from existing sulfate exposure. The Colby Lake discharges will be less subject to the attenuation of current flows because they will be released on the surface and not subjected to ground effect filtering. Total stream water concentrations of sulfate are more relevant here than concentrations close to the tailings basin. Two thirds of the augmentation water will go to Trimble creek which has according to this SDEIS average sulfate levels of 12.4 at TC1 and 26.8 at PM19 and Mud Lake Creek which will receive about 1/6 th of augmentation has readings at MLC 1 of 9.8 and MLC 2 of 3.2 mg/L, inadequate data is provided for unnamed creak which will receive less than 1/4th augmentation from Colby Lake from years 21-40 (Table 4.2.2-35). Difference between actual from those given in the SDEIS and differences between Barr and MDNR readings are the product of manipulation. For example, a higher reading will result when taken during lower water levels when concentrations are higher and for Colby Lake water different concentrations of sulfates will occur at different depths. Modeling charts 
5.2.2-50 and 5.2.2-51 contradict SDEIS actual readings(In Trimble and Mud Creeks) and known sulfates(according to SDEIS figures) in Colby Lake augmentation water.

p.5-201-202
-mercury concentrations in reactive waste rock will be much higher. In this rock stratification will occur with sulfide eroded
mercury methylizing in solution and stratifying. Results shown in lab testing will not carry over into natural conditions and are not applicable. 
p.5-202
“The West Pit, like seepage/head water lakes (e.g., lakes with no significant inflowing streams),”
-not true/disputed. There will be Partridge River high oxygen inflow through rock fractures and sub-surficial erosion.
-furthermore, it is not relevant to compare a sulfide ore body to head water lakes or a select number of pit lakes.

p.5-204
“runoff from the Overburden Storage and Laydown Area would be considered process water and would be collected and routed to the Tailings Basin for years 1 to 11, where much of the mercury would be sequestered in the tailings.”
-this is not true. Not only will mercury not be sequestered in the tailings, mercury that has been sequestered by lack of contact with sulfates will be reactivated with the addition of sulfate laced tailings during the operation of the mine.
-PolyMet Mass Balance Modeling has no record of reliability or validity and no way for establishing either. Again, it is assumed that the modeling uses PWQT’s.  PolyMet given its methodology in disregarding the methylization of mercury and overestimation of sorption makes it’s fabricated model appear to be unreliable. Given the mines footprint relative to the size of the Partridge River watershed, at best assuming the validity of the PolyMet Modeling, any benefit to filtering the small amount of background existing run-off from the footprint of the mine and surfaces to be treated would be negligble and beyond detection. The fact of the “natural runoff (with a total mercury concentration of 3.6 ng/L)” is so high merely reflects the environmental impact that exploration drilling has had on the site, contradicts PolyMet’s sequestration theory, and makes evident their recklessness, preexisting culpability and lack of responsibility. 

p.5-206
-again, taconite tailings will adsorb elemental mercury just like any other solid solution but once methylated adsorption is no longer effective and the addition of sulfates negates any adsorption. Mercury in higher than natural amounts will be 
reactivated by the introduction of sulfates which has been shown in studies conducted in Sweden, Canada and the U.S.
PolyMet and their co-lead agency employees want to self-servingly disregard the established science. 

p.5-208
-the effect of DEIS changes including containment systems won’t work as previously indicated.
-the results of the Bavin and Berndt study is misrepresented. The study actually indicated that higher sulfate levels eventually dilute, travel downstream and methylate mercury. An honest reading of the study indicates that there is a correlation between the amount of sulfate in the stream and the amount of mercury that is methylated as the mercury
is projected downstream. The methylmercury and its concentration is real as is indicated by bioaccumulation in fish downstream. 

p5-210
-because the Embarrass River system is more than double the size of the Partridge River system the 3% increase in the
Embarrass and the 5% increase in the Partridge will result in a net increase in mercury.

-SDEIS neglects a discussion of the augmentation water from Colby Lake which MPCA testing from 1976-2007 showed 
mercury of 190 ng/L (p.4-88) while the Embarrass river only has 4 ng/L (p.4-123). All the tailings basin surficial seeps show less than 4 ng/L (p.4-129). This is an increase of more than 45 times the amount of mercury being put into the Embarrass River tributaries. Even if the more limited and paid for Barr testing results are used mercury doubles during the period of augmentation.

This 20 year Colby Lake stream augmentation would seriously contaminate fish in the Embarrass River watershed for a generation in the downstream Embarrass River and increase mercury in the Lake Superior Watershed. PolyMet will be taking current cleaner runoff from the LTV tailings basin and replacing it with much higher mercury contaminated water. Even though this water would also flow in the St. Louis River a net increase will occur because the dillution effect of the alleged cleaner tailings basin water will be removed. This is a clear violation if the Great Lakes Initiative Law. Furthermore, the Colby Lake water is warmed by the nearby Minnesota Power Laskin plant (p4-85). The warmer water will increase the solubility of the metals in the river system and form an environment that will serve as a catalyst more conducive to oxidizing metals and methylating mercury.

p.5-211 to 222
-plans for future efforts should not be allowed. these efforts depend on DNR or MPCA enforcement which, based on historical enforcement of environmental protections and laws should be expected not to occur. Furthermore, the
agencies paid participation in The EIS process gives them a vested interest in its success, the failure of which they will
have an inherent propensity to deny.

p.5-223
-the Aitkin and Hinkley sites will not compensate for wetlands lost in the St. Louis River watershed. Wetlands need to be
retained and justly deserve to be retained to provide environmental filtering effect, retention of water for flood control, et.
-the Zim site is already wet and serves the functions of a wetland. Calling the Zim site a wetland or flooding it with more
water serves no wetland purposes. I have walked the area composing the Burns sod farm as one of their customers.
-none of the given sites should be qualified as mitigation.

p.5-225
-a key component of the adaptive management plan should be to identify additional compensatory wetlands in advance that would actually serve an additional wetland function within the St. Louis River watershed to compensate for wetlands lost in the St. Louis River watershed.

p.5-227
-as previously indicated in these comments mine settings chosen are not comparable for the reasons previously given in these comments.

p.5-223-243
-indirect wetland effects need to be assessed for evaporation resulting from loss of vegetation cover these should include ombrotrophic wetlands.

p.5-243
-Analog mine sites are dissimilar to PolyMet because as previously indicated. The water table at PolyMet maintains a
higher elevation and puts the water under more pressure to flow farther. Rather than restrict the area of drainage the 
Partridge River expands the zone because it is within the zone of bedrock fractures which the surficial water flow follows
as indicated elsewhere in this SDEIS. All wetlands to the Northwest, North, and Northeast will run into the PolyMet mine pit. Drawdown will occur following the Partridge River beyond the 10,000 foot boundary until pumping from the pit augments and restores the river flow downstream of the pits. PolyMet and the Co-lead agencies seem to think that if they repeat themselves often enough what they write will magically become true. More Hocus-Pocus. 

p.5-239-277
-disregarded in this analysis are the cumulative effects of  evaperation drawdown from defoliated ground, accelerated defoliation from drying, dusting, the toxic effects of toxic dust or watering, increase runoff from dry defoliated ground, and draw down from the mine pit on vegetation. It is clear that the co-lead agencies have taken a myopic view of cumulative impacts.

p.5-285
“hydrologic modifications have resulted in inundation and changes in wetland cover types from forested and scrub shrub wetlands (as evidenced in aerial photographs from the 1940s prior to LTVSMC operations) to deep marsh (Barr 2008b).”
-evidence of erosion that should be expected to continue from PolyMet seepage. This eroded ground should not be expected to support a containment wall or boulders reinforcing the base of the tailings basin.

p.5-291
-Indirect wetland impact will occur at the plant site from evaporation caused by the trampling of vegetation.

p.5-298
water losses in the watersheds of the tributary creeks are underestimated because they do not account for water flowing
through drainage pipes running from tailings basin drainage area to Embarrass River(draw down and intensification of contaminants). If containment system catches 90% of water there will be a shortage of more than 20%. This 20% augmentation from Colby Lake will lead to heightened levels of mercury in the first 20 years and after 40 years in addition to the more extensive augmentation occurring in years 20-40 as indicated previously in these comments in violation of the Great Lakes Initiative Law.

p.5-300-302

-disregarded in this analysis are the cumulative effects of  evaporation draw down from defoliated ground, dusting, the
toxic effects of toxic dust or watering on defoliation of water preserving ground cover, and draw down from the mine pit on vegetation. Further disregarded is the contribution of traffic to defoliation evaporation. 

p.5-308
-effectiveness of tailings basin containment system overestimated, etc., as indicated in these comments.

p.5-310
-analog method not representative, wetland draw down underestimated from Partridge River hydrology, etc. as previously indicated in these comments.

p.5-318
-State and Federal governments want mitigation on private lands because they plan to continue the degradation of wetland
environments on their own lands in violation of state and federal laws.

p.5-319
-it is incorrect to characterize ditched peat lands as adversely effected. These lands could be utilized as productive farmlands. These lands have diminished value because of the pollution of the St. Louis River that has diminished the regional agricultural economy. Jeno Palluchi received his start in business growing celery on these lands. Zim lands will be subject to ruin from unregulated run-off from expanding Forbes United Taconite tailings basin. Further degradation 
of this area by trading it for more mining degradation only serves to further cripple the ability of  a once thriving agricultural community to recover from mining. Further, it lessons the value unjustly and to the detriment, of the community, state, of surrounding lands. These ongoing economic policies corruptly and foolishly promote special interests at the expense of individual landowners. God created the wetlands at the PolyMet mine site and they cannot be replaced. Promoting sub economic mining, i.e. mining that depends on subsidies is in no way conservation of anything  and is a desecration of humanity.
-mining should replace lost wetlands destroyed by mining.  The intent of the law is not to make agricultural perpetually subservient to mining. Furthermore, replacing wetlands lost to mining does not functionally compare when replacing them with agricultural lands.
-it is a historic fact that increases in agricultural production lead to the industrial revolution. Agricultural production needs to be protected from contamination and a healthy agricultural economy needs to be preserved. In the event that global warming intensifies we will need uncontaminated water in more northerly climates with good soils. Some people foolishly
want to promote mining and are for supporting the tail that wags the dog but we must not let them kill the dog.
-The mere fact that farm land can be turned into wetlands is testimony to the health of the land. Mining land cannot replace wetlands because wetlands cannot be created from mine lands. There is a qualitative difference between protecting wetlands from mining and using farm lands to replace wetlands that are destroyed by mining and to fail to recognize the difference is simply a lie.
-turning existing sod farms into wetlands is a sham and a waste. People need sod. These will simply be replaced by
draining other wetlands and no net gains will occur.

p.5-339
-discussion of reclamation is a joke. When have any of the co-lead agencies ever reclaimed a mine in Minnesota. After a century of neglect they come to the table and should not even expect to have a scintilla of credibility in this regard. 

p.5-341
-the characterization of the loss of state lands of significant high biodiversity of less than one percent as not being a large percentage decline is a subjective, biased, reckless, and slippery slope characterization of these losses.

p.5-343
as with all the cover systems in the project root systems from tree growth will eventually penetrate the cover and subject the underlying soils to oxidization reaction. As with any of the stated mitigation measures effects are only delayed.


p.5-349

-the status of the Floating Marsh Marigold should be upgraded to endangered and this (PolyMet mine site) habitat protected. Again, only God can effectively create this habitat.
-draw down as indicated earlier in these comments will wipe out this 8% population of this species.
-the co-lead agencies do not care about the lives of people what chance does a plant have anyway.
-it needs to be determined if this is a genetically isolated variety of Marsh Marigold to avoid extinction of the species.
-the Floating Marsh Marigold is listed as endangered in Wisconsin where there is only one known population.

-p.5-368
-again, draw down from mine activities as indicated in these comments is underestimated for the mine site.

p.5-373
-mercury effects on the sensitive wildlife listed will be intensified by the release of the high mercury Colby Lake augmentation water as indicated earlier in these comments.

p.5-377
-The presence of the mine causes the disruption of the migration corridors and ability of a variety of larger species due to the chain of Mesabi Range mining from east to west. Although this has been made a concern of natives in the area little has been done to dispel what they have learned. Moose populations are declining to critical levels. Additional 
arsenic deposition in the Partridge and Embarrass Rivers will damage the health of aquatic animals, and moose as aquatic grazers as arsenic is known to be absorbed into aquatic plants. Small levels of poisoning have serious effects in an already fragile life of a wild animal.
-I have observed the disappearance of predators in areas where rodents have been poisoned with D-Con.

p.5-379-392
-Mercury levels will exceed current levels in the Partridge River and Embarrass River. Embarrass River mercury increases will be more pronounced because of higher mercury levels in augmentation water from Colby Lake that will need to be used because of low estimates in ground flow as the result of a failure to account for drainage pipes running from the tailings basin drainage area to the Embarrass River,  because of planned augmentation in years 20-40, and for other reasons previously given in these comments.
-Arsenic will exceed 10 parts per million because of overly optimistic effects of sorption, filtering, and containment.
-exceedences of arsenic and mercury have been observed in Colby Lake water and should be expected to increase in frequency in the future and in augmentation. No consumption of any amount of walleyes, as has been the history of 
Colby Lake, will be recommended for fish in lakes downstream of the tailings basin in the Embarrass watershed. Warmed augmentation water from Colby Lake will kill off colder water fish along with other effects that need to be further researched.

p.5-379-381
-draw down will exceed what is estimated for reasons previously given in these comments which will result in escape from containment and higher concentrations of solutes.
-second creek augmentation should also be expected to increase in warming, arsenic and mercury.

p.5-387
Goldsimm modeling based on targets unlikely to be met and discharge will exceed those predicted.

p.5-394
-under the no action alternative Colby Lake augmentation would not occur. Benefits of tourism and cleaner environment would accrue. Race relations with native tribes would be improved.

p.5-395
-the PolyMet project will emit more than 10 tons of HAP in amphibole fibers.
-no relevant BACT demonstration is attainable.
-as indicated on page 5-531 there are sources of hydrogen sulfide gas that should be added or considered alone as exceeding the 10 ton HAP or 25 ton HAP cumulative standard. Potassium amyl xanthate will be converted to some extent to hydrogen sulfide gas as indicated with a total potential conversion of 1075 tons per year with the only requirement for conversion being heat and moisture.
-additionally fugitive lime dust needs to be treated as hazardous waste.
-even though it will not directly emit green house gas it will indirectly generate green house gasses and contribute to hazing in the boundary waters through its usage of power generated from Minnesota Power which will exceed 100,000 tons per year. The lack of attainment in the boundary waters should require PolyMet to be treated as if it were in a non-attainment area and a general conformity determination should be required.
-these sources and other should qualify PolyMet as a major source emitter. Relevant, reliable, and valid modeling needs to be conducted for these sources.

p.5-402
“At the Mine Site, emissions were estimated for material handling sources associated with excavation, portable crushing and screening operations, blast hole drilling, use of unpaved roads, and vehicle exhaust.”
-it appears that modeling was based on PolyMet fabricated and self-serving data.

p.5-407
“Model inputs for these sources were provided by the MPCA”
-these should be determined to be not credible.”
-the MPCA has refused to enforce the CAA and other law against mining and power companies supplying power to mining companies as indicated in the following two stories:

p.5-408
“Per MPCA guidance, the MESOPUFF II algorithm and secondary particulate formation were not used in the PM10 increment consumption evaluation.”
-this breach of protocol invalidates the modeling.
p.5-411
“Since the two receptor grids represent two separate AOCs, the maximum concentrations are not additive”
-this is a misapplication of the Clean Air Act.
p.5-395 to 417
-the modeling described is meaningless without information forming a basis for the inputs and violate due process notice. Are these models based PolyMet target inputs as in the water modeling.
-air quality modeling provided herein violates due process and is incomprehensible.

It has been proven that air pollutants inhibit the ability of pollinators to find food and pollinate plants  http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-honeybees-cant-sniff-out-flowers-amid-diesel-exhaust-20131004,0,6485580.story. Pollinators have become increasingly endangered as a result of habitat degradation including in Minnesota  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteer/julaug09/pollinators.html. Humans have a symbiotic relationship with bees and other pollinators. Often times individual flowers have a symbiotic relationship with an individual wild bee species. This will have an impact on the ability of the Floating Marsh Marigold to survive as a species. The NorthMet project as well as a large area dedicated to mining in general are part of the habitat for the Monarch Butterfly which is also in extreme decline. The impact of the hazing effect for an entire region of mining in Minnesota cannot be disregarded. As I learned in college chemistry if it is a gas that you can see or smell it is toxic as a rule. Hazing produced by mining industry power generation is not simply cosmetic it is an environmental tragedy. It is not expected that the State of Minnesota can alone enforce environmental laws to protect these species.


p.5-545
geotechnical stability

p.5-557
“similar industry standards and other large tailings dams in Minnesota. “
-it is improper to use this as a standard for this project as tailings basins in the past have failed by design, this has been visible by viewing basins such as United Taconite using google earth.
-design criteria are unconstitutionally vague and based on invalid imputs.
-as with modeling for water and air quality inputs used for the geotechnical stability of the tailings basin are inadequately explained and based in terms of methodology for selection, reliability or validity of selection.
-the peat soil forming the base for the rock buttress, when subjected to hydraulic erosion from sepage or lack thereof from the containment wall will not support it. The rock buttress is expected to slide through the area of the containment wall.

p.5-569


-it is improper to use this as a standard for this project as tailings basins in the past have failed by design, this has been visible by viewing basins such as United Taconite using google earth.
-design criteria are unconstitutionally vague and based on invalid imputs.
-as with modeling for water and air quality inputs used for the geotechnical stability of the hydrometallurgical  residue facility are inadequately explained and based in terms of methodology for selection, reliability or validity of selection.
-the peat earth foundation for this structure is inadequate to allow it to retain its shape and structural integrity. This will result in liner failure.

p.5-575
“Liquefaction analysis was not applicable and not performed because the material proposed in the constructed dams would be well-compacted and the Hydrometallurgical Residue Facility liner system would limit leakage through the dams.”
-these assumptions are made in error.



Regarding the Non-Federal Tract 2 “Lake County lands” wetland acres 
Lake County lands- Has Lake County, entered into an agreement with PolyMet for the roughly 350 acres of county lands called “Lake County lands” in the land exchange proposal? It appears the Lake County lands were added after the wetland analysis showed that the land exchange was lacking adequate wetland acres in the first analysis.
From the NorthMet Land Exchange Scoping documents-
PolyMet Land Exchange Proposal Feasibility Analysis Wetland, Lake Shoreline, Stream
Frontage, and Floodplain Assessment for the Proposed Polymet Land Exchange
October 2009
“Since the development of this report in October 2009, additional parcels for federal
acquisition in the potential land exchange with PolyMet have been identified. The
proposed exchange would provide a net increase in wetland acres (not the net decrease
described in the report). These additional parcels include more wetland area (as well as
lake and stream frontage).”
From the NorthMet Land Exchange Scoping documents-Proposed NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange
“Tract 2 (“Lake County lands”) consists of approximately 320 acres of land formerly
owned by Lake County. The tract includes various 40-acre parcels on the Laurentian 10
 Ranger District southeast of Seven Beaver Lake that are mostly surrounded by National
Forest lands and offer a high percentage of wetland habitat.”
If Lake County has approved or entered into an agreement or contract with PolyMet for the sale of lands to PolyMet in furtherance and assistance of PolyMet’s NorthMet project through the environmental review process, it is prohibited from doing so by state and federal law restricting government action or approval prior to completion of the environmental review process.
For the PolyMet NorthMet project, the agencies are in the middle of the Environmental Impact Statement review process. The law regarding environmental review requires that government agencies not take final action on a project prior to the completion of environmental review. Minn. Stat. § 116D.04, subd. 2b and Minn. R. 4410.3100. Moreover, the law requires that an EIS be prepared early in the process and that the information and analysis developed in the EIS be used by the government to inform permitting or approval decisions related to the project or pieces of the project. Minn. Stat. § 116D.04 subd. 2a. The language regarding consideration of the EIS information is mandatory: The government action shall be preceded by a detailed environmental impact statement. The statute does not distinguish between final and alleged “preliminary” or “minor” actions. Further, government action is broadly defined in the law as activities, including projects solely or partially conducted, permitted, assisted, financed, regulated or approved by a unit of government, and units of governments includes all levels of government. Minn. Stat. § 116B.04, subd. 1. The point of these provisions as read together is to ensure that environmental review occurs before there is an impact on the landscape and that all impacts then be considered and inform any government decisions on the primary action and any related or connected actions as well. By allowing a chipping away at the projects or pieces of projects while environmental review is pending or before it is done, the companies and government agencies in these cases frustrate the purpose and intent of full environmental review.
St. Louis County entered into a Wetland Restoration Agreement with PolyMet dated February 7, 2006 and was subsequently sued in Minnesota District Court. District Court Judge Heather Sweetland ruled in favor of the plaintiffs , Wetlands Action Group, motion for plaintiffs summary judgment granted. Further, the court held that a contract is the same as a permit and proceeded to void the agreement and associated actions, because it was a violation of MN Rules part 4410.3100. See Wetlands Action Group, et al., Plaintiffs vs. St. Louis County, et al., Defendants April 17th, 2007. Lake County’s entering into an land sale agreement with PolyMet is a discretionary contract and, thus, a permit under Minnesota rules.
If Lake County has indeed entered into an agreement with PolyMet, it is a violation of MN
Rules part 4410.3100, Prohibitions on Final Government Decisions – a land sale agreement with PolyMet would be in violation of subpart 2 as a public action prejudicing the ultimate decision on the project- would constitute “starting the project” which is prohibited under subpart 1. The County would be violating the prohibition on actions relating to projects under review pursuant to the EQB’s Environmental Rules. The acts of Lake County are prejudicial to the final approval 11 of the NorthMet project. The USFS must address whether the Lake County Lands are part of an illegal action and if so, remove them from consideration in PolyMet’s proposed land exchange.
Other activities have also been conducted in violation of NEPA and MEPA including the building of the Copper-Nickel highway designed to capacity and specifications for mining activity and referred to in Congressional documents as the Copper-Nickel highway and drilling subsidies provided by the State of Minnesota. Co-lead agencies have been engaged in an ongoing scheme to defraud and deceive the public to believe that drilling activity and road building are without environmental impacts involving the leaching of heavy metals into the environment. As indicated by exceedences of nickel and arsenic at the PolyMet mine site which has been subjected to extensive drill exploration this is not true.
THE POLYMET ZONE OF IMPACT EXTENDS BEYOND THE STATE OF MINNESOTA

The zone of impact for PolyMet extends beyond the State of Minnesota to other states and foreign countries. Wisconsin will be impacted through the arsenic
and heavy metal poisoning of the drinking water of Superior, WI and other Lake Superior south shore communities that obtain their drinking water from Lake Superior. Currently, testing for drinking water quality for Superior Wisconsin is done by Superior Water Light and Power, a subsidiary of the Alete corporation that owns Minnesota Power. Alete through Minnesota Power has advocated in front of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for PolyMet to receive subsidized power rates on the pretext of a right that they claim to provide for economic development. The interests of the owners of SW&L are antithetical to monitoring for clean drinking water for the people of the City of Superior. Current water quality monitoring is not only compromised by a conflict of interest,
it is inadequate in scope and current arsenic levels seem to be unavailable to the public in the water quality reporting that exists for Superior drinking water.

 Wisconsin has preserved their right to sue under the Clean Water Act by maintaining a water quality standard that provides for water quality free from the effects of intended sulfide mining by statute. Wisconsin reserves the jurisdictional right through these comments to sue under the Clean Water Act.The precedent for this action coming in the reserve mining case for the mitigation of amphibole fibers (asbestos). The PolyMet Mine and Plant will emit toxic waters that will harm waterfowl. Of particular harm will be the Hydrometallurgical Residue Facility. Contact with hydrometallurgical pond water will likely cause imminent death to unsuspecting waterfowl protected under international treaty (Migratory Bird Treaty Act)  for the benefit of Wisconsin citizens. The hazing from power generation to supply PolyMet will have negative effects on other migratory species including the Monarch Butterfly which is also protected under law. Lake Superior from which the City of Superior receives their water is considered a navigable water body.

PolyMet will violate the Clean Water Act which will diminish the quality of other water uses in the State of Wisconsin along with the quality and quantity of resources such as wild rice and fish which will absorb harmful to human health heavy metals like mercury and arsenic. Furthermore, the PolyMet land exchange involves the disposition of a national resource objectionable to Wisconsin citizens.
                                                      CONCLUSION


The SDEIS and the PolyMet project has its basis in corrupt government and imperialism. The local government communitypromoting PolyMet has also welcomed Antofagasta, a product of the ruthless dictator Augusto Pinochet known for having murder his own citizens and buried the bodies in depleted mine shafts. Patronizing companies like Antofagasta and Glencore that commit atrocities in third world countries through their mining operations will only empower and embolden them to commit atrocities here and more aggressively pursue their existing ongoing atrocities in the third world. It will not help the subjugated third world or us for us to be their competitor for ever escalating human rights violations and lower metals commodity prices.      

Most of the lead agency people involved in sponsoring this SDEIS  live in St. Paul and will not have to live with the consequences of the mining and will get the best jobs. These twin cities interests already steal from our children the benefits of school trust lands that were intended for local schools. They sold their trust lands to benefit their own schools and now they are coming to steal ours by co-mingling funds in violation of the principles of any trust relationship.

It is enlightening that the SDEIS allows PolyMet to phrase legal pollution discharge standards and allow them the base modeling on their own targets. Is it just coincidental that the targets coincide with legal requirements? The transparency
here of the fraud attempted to be perpetrated by the SDEIS on the public is that the co-lead agency don’t intend to require PolyMet to make or keep any promises. The co-lead agency foresee in have foreseen in advance that  they would provide
a vague and ambiguous SDEIS to avoid criticism when the pretext of a plan cannot be implemented. The co-lead agency have no respect for humanity or the law and don’t intend to enforce it.

The SDEIS disregards the cumulative impacts of SDEIS and permitting resulting from issuing a permit based on this SDEIS.The largest impact is the dilution of standards created in the SDEIS. From here on other permit seekers will have the expectation and will probably be required to be treated the same as PolyMet. I cannot imagine living in this kind of a world and I won’t turn my back on it like many other people have. I will continue to seek alliances to use the full extent of the law to act in defense of the lives of others as I would act in defense of my own life. The lead agencies need to adopt the 
no-action alternative on this project. There is no exigency present in approving this project. The metals will remain. The Northeastern Minnesota area deserves a chance to build an economy not dominated by the effects of mining. Northeastern Minnesota has been subjected to the burden of one-hundred years of mining, it is someone else’s turn.

This SDEIS is so ambiguous and indefinite that it should be judged as if it was a statute and determined to be void for vagueness. It should be expected to violate the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Weeks Act, NEPA, MEPA Federal Land Management Policy Act, and other statutory law. It violates Federal and State of Minnesota Constitution in terms of Equal Protection of the laws, Due Process, and other provisions. When this SDEIS proceeds to permitting a court should have no other choice than to vacate the permit. It is not legally the exclusive right of administrative agencies to make life and death decisions. It is a moral obligation as citizens of the United States to stop it from happening.

Sincerely
Dennis Edward Szymialis
807 Voss Avenue
Duluth, MN 55806

 

__________________________________________________________________________

It has appeared based on rock discoloration in the rock being blasted along Hwy 1 between Ely and Isabella that the rock is reactive for leaching what is referred to as acid mine drainage. Watch for this area referred to by politicians and their agency cronies to become our nations next Superfund sight. The road reconstruction is being rebuilt to accommodate mining trucks hauling ore out of the area. It is unclear what testing was done to determine the reactivity of this rock if any. The environmental assessment which invited public and on which the road was built deliberately deceived the public as to the amount of rock that would be blasted/excavated.

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